Michiganders discuss gun safety reform and firearm injury prevention; look ahead to issue in 2024

Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 4:54 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - After a series of mass shooting throughout the year, some say there is more momentum now to pass gun safety reform laws and it could be a key issue for some candidates running in 2024.

States like Michigan have already passed gun safety reform laws, including universal background checks, red flag laws and safe storage requirements around children.

And now, a major candidate for U.S. Senate in the state, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D - MI), has made gun reforms a key priority for her campaign.

“The ground is shifting on this issue. And Americans of all stripes, including and especially gun owners, hunters, sportsmen, are demanding basic gun safety measures that will help save the lives of their children,” said Rep. Slotkin.

Just outside Detroit in Waterford, MI, Gray Television’s Stetson Miller met up with some of those gun owners that are part of the group, Giffords Gun Owners for Safety. It was created by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords after she was shot while meeting with constituents in Arizona.

“We are that middle ground. We are gun owners, but we very much care about safety. Common sense in the middle. We want everybody to be safe,” said Christin Perry, Senior Ambassador Giffords Gun Owners for Safety in Michigan.

“I think there’s more awareness in the public of how bad gun violence is becoming and that there are solutions that can be made that don’t take away your rights, but they do decrease gun violence,” said Mark Moore, Michigan Chapter Advocate for Giffords Gun Owners for Safety.

Some in Michigan are also looking for solutions to prevent gun violence, such as the team at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention - a one-of-its-kind institute formed in 2018 that works to address the root causes of, and finds potential solutions for gun violence.

“The institute has served as sort of a home base for a national conversation around firearm injury prevention,” said Dr. Justin Heinze, Co-Director of School Safety Section at the institute.

The institute studies every day gun violence happening in places like Flint and Detroit as well as mass shootings to figure out what might work to prevent gun violence.

“Our job, I think, is to continue to ask these questions, see if we can identify data sources or individuals who have experiences that we can draw and learn from all in the hope that we can start to design some of those things to stop it from happening again,” he said.

Heinze said some of topics they study include how likely someone is to experience violence after coming to an emergency room, firearm storage and spaces where gun violence has happened.

“If you make a park or if you create a community garden, we have found that that can have a positive effect on the surrounding properties and actually reduce some violence,” said Dr. Heinze.

Heinze also said that policy makers are also now coming to them for information about how to handle gun violence.